May 31, 2013

Wyden Asks Ag. Secretary Vilsack to Ensure Discovery of Genetically Engineered Wheat Does Not Affect Trade

Washington, D.C. – Following the news that a small and unharvested amount of genetically engineered (GE) wheat was discovered by an Oregon farmer, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praising their investigation into the issue and urging them to work with the US Trade Representative and the Departments of State and Commerce to prevent this discovery from negatively affecting Oregon’s international wheat exports. Wyden is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s International trade subcommittee.

The wheat in question was part of a limited field testing conducted by the agriculture company Monsanto more than a decade ago. Though this wheat was not harvested or sold to domestic or international consumers, Oregon wheat exports account for $500 million in state exports and “much of it could be put into jeopardy by this discovery,” Wyden wrote in the letter.

Wyden asked the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, State and Commerce and the USTR to “provide assurance and certainty to global wheat markets that Oregon growers are not producing or selling GE wheat, and to address any concerns or misinformation that may arise.”

“The discovery of non-harvested, GE wheat should not be used by America’s trading partners to erect spurious, protectionist trade barriers or procurement practices in the absence of scientific evidence indicating that Oregon exports contain this strain of wheat,” Wyden continued in the letter.

Click here to read the letter.

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